Previous studies have identified over 3, genes that are differentially expressed in male and female skeletal muscle. Here, we review the sex-based differences in skeletal muscle fiber composition, myosin heavy chain expression, contractile function, and the regulation of these physiological differences by thyroid hormone, estrogen, and testosterone. The findings presented lay the basis for the continued work needed to fully understand the skeletal muscle differences between males and females. Cardiac, smooth, and skeletal are the three muscle types in mammals, with skeletal muscle being the most abundant tissue in the human body. Skeletal muscles are composed of different types of fibers which diverge morphologically, biochemically, and functionally.
Sex-Based Differences in Skeletal Muscle Kinetics and Fiber-Type Composition
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So, just for starters, how much of a difference IS there between men and women? Or at least, how large are the physiological differences in major parameters that relate to strength and performance? For starters, men and women are very metabolically similar, at least when looking at metabolic rate. That means if a man and woman have the same size muscles, they should have roughly the same strength. On the aerobic side of things, men tend to be slightly faster than women with equivalent levels of training. However, the difference is almost entirely explained by body composition differences men tend to be leaner , hematocrit differences higher levels of testosterone lead to slightly higher red blood cell counts , and differences in heart size.